IS RUTHERFORD, N.J. – To be honest, 5-2 and the first place in the NFC's east should feel like. . . more. You can see what the Washington Redskins are working for, what they could be. But in reality, they are still a vague outline, a thin sketch of a good team.
During so many Sunday afternoons at MetLife Stadium against the unfortunate, 1-7 New York Giants, you wondered whether or not there was a Redskins offense. The question was not sarcastic, but metaphysical. He literally struggled to materialize, and Alex Smith seemed more like a ghost, a quarterback steamer. But then, Adrian Peterson was pretty real, with a 64-yard run at 3:06 to go, and between him and that powerful, powerful and oppressive defense, the substance of the Redskins ended up winning.
Nevertheless, it would be a serious mistake to overestimate the 20-13 win, as it was a kind of crucial signpost on the way to greatness. It's a team that still has real gaps to fill. She did not do much for long periods. The Redskins led 7-3 at halftime. They spoiled short field situations, unable to reach the end zone in the second half, until Peterson made a tight bend around Brandon Scherff's hip to escape on the field. ground. Had not the defensive front led by Matt Ioannidis hit the Eli Manning club with seven sacks, and DJ Swearinger did not jump the poor soul for two interceptions, the Giants would actually have a chance in the end .
"We're supposed to win this game," said Swearinger. "We are supposed to beat a team 1-7. Supposed to expel them, in truth. "
In a game that had both rivalry and divisional importance, two sleep machines jumped to club him, which could produce the deepest sleep of the audience. At half-time, the Redskins' offense was just 5.5 yards per pass. And it was in his good half. Neither team could generate energy. As the half-time approached, it was time to take a deep breath – or take a nap.
In the middle of the third quarter, the Redskins' defense did its best to create an explosion. Ioannidis and Ryan Kerrigan moved closer to Manning and beat him on the field on his own 2-yard line. The kick of the depths in the end zone places the Redskins at 45, giving them a half-way forward to the end zone.
The time had come to show that he was a true division chief, a team capable of putting a foot on the opponent's neck. Instead, the Redskins seemed to be trying to smother the Giants with a fluffy pillow. Dustin Hopkins scored on the field with 53 yards.
Then Swearinger tried to point them to the end zone. He threw a stray ball from Manning and sent the intercept back to 22 yards from New York 40. Now, they had less than half a lot to lose. Instead, Peterson groped when he was tackled for a defeat.
Two consecutive possessions from the midfield or better reported only three points. Things have continued on this path. At 10:55 of the match, they scored a third and another at New York 20. They will surely score now. Instead, they were marked for a false start. Another goal of Hopkins: 13-3.
Fortunately, the giants were no better than a team of circus clowns in free fall. On Sunday 's approach, Manning was sacked 24 times in seven games and, according to Pro Football Focus, he only has 36.6 passers under pressure. The inefficiency of the Giants was such that even with a first goal and a goal on the Redskins' 4-yard line, they could not find the goal zone.
Then came finally the great game that put this miserable game out of his misery. It started as an ordinary race on the right, but when Scherff closed his eyes, coach Jay Gruden had a sudden hope.
"I saw Brandon, ready to hunt," said Gruden. "Once you see that the hole is ready, and that Brandon has his eyes on the target, you know that something positive is about to happen."
Peterson too, who accelerated behind him. "I've been able to shop around and take it home," Peterson said.
"Decisive result in a critical situation," said Gruden.
All that was left to do was sort the good and the bad from the stats sheet and try to decide what all that meant. On the one hand, it meant a series of three consecutive victories and a 1 1/2- lead game in the division. That meant a lot for a team that had not won three straight since 2016. "We took a few shots on the chin," Gruden said.
This meant that the rebuilt defense was worth the investment, as was Peterson with his 149-meter run. That meant the Redskins had enough work to win a lousy match by a gray day on the road. "We will not be too excited because there is a lot to work on," Peterson said. "We will take that win for what it is."
This meant that they had enough general resources – racing game, foot play, defense game – to survive another Sunday of offensive struggle, while Smith was trying to find the sense of rhythm and bursting. with his receivers that they all know how to finally come.
"Until we go on the offensive, we have to win games like this," Gruden said. "No complaints with that. We will take it. "
This meant that it was still a work in progress, a half-cooked team that could still swing in one direction or the other, but that strongly supports the promise.
"We have not won this division yet," Swearinger said. "We did not win in the playoffs. We did not win the Super Bowl. We have not done anything yet. We simply light the stove. We have not put fat yet.